... those who are familiar with McConnell insist the Republican leader didn’t make a political miscalculation by invoking an arcane Senate rule. In fact, things went as he planned, they say.Oh. So if the senator wielding the Coretta Scott King letter had been someone other than Warren, McConnell might have held his tongue?
The thinking is that the elevation of Warren ... works in the party’s favor.
“I think everybody inside and outside the Senate knows that McConnell doesn’t do anything without a plan,” said one GOP strategist. “His ability to see around the corner is entirely unrivaled.”
“Any attention that people pay to Elizabeth Warren is good for Republicans,” the strategist said. “She just isn’t the type of candidate who would do well in states that Democrats lost last cycle.”
Sorry, I don't believe Republicans think that way. To Republicans -- and to the Republican base -- there are only two kinds of people: people who think exactly like them and traitors who should be driven out of public life, if not brought up on treason charges and summarily executed. The list of people in the latter category isn't short. It includes everyone who deviates from Correct Conservative Thinking at any given time, and often includes many Republicans.
To see how that works, here's Sean Spicer at today's press briefing accusing John McCain -- John McCain -- of dishonoring a dead servicemember.
Wow. Spicer: Anyone, including John McCain, who says Yemen raid wasn't a success does disservice to slain Navy SEAL's life & owes an apology pic.twitter.com/baPCRc88wT— Bradd Jaffy (@BraddJaffy) February 8, 2017
KRISTEN WELKER, NBC NEWS: Yemen has withdrawn permission for the United States to run special operations ground missions against suspected terrorists in the wake of the recent raid there that claimed so many civilian lives. Does that not undercut the administration's ability to fight terrorism in that region, and do you stand by your assessment that it's a success?There's more -- watch the clip. But the message is unmistakable: Nobody questions us, not even John McCain.
SEAN SPICER: Well, I'll take the last one first. It's absolutely a success, and I think anyone who would suggest it's not a success does disservice to the life of Chief Ryan Owens. He fought knowing what was at stake in that mission, and anybody who would suggest otherwise doesn't fully appreciate how successful that mission was, what the information they were able to retrieve was, and how that will help prevent future terrorist attacks.
WLKER: Even Senator John McCain called it a failure.
SPICER: I understand that. I think my statement's very clear on that, Kristen.
Okay, that's Spicer and President Trump, not Mitch McConnell. In all likelihood, McConnell would stop short of attacking a fellow Republican.
But the idea that any prominent Republican thinks there's only a short list of juicy targets, and that other critics of Republican policies would be left unscathed, is ludicrous. You cross the Republicans, you're a traitor to America -- that's how it's worked for years. Just criticizing the Republicans at all is precisely what gets you on the un-American traitor list.
So far, heartland white America has agreed with the Republicans' give-no-quarter approach. Unswerving opposition to all critics is just fine. That's not the "ability to see around the corner." It's not subtle strategizing. It's shooting at everything that moves that isn't one of your own troops.